So I’m driving to work about 2 weeks ago now in the Sonic. I’m listening to music, drinking my iced coffee, when suddenly I notice a shit load of white smoke coming out the back of the car. Oh shit, I think, I’m burning oil or something. A myriad number of things that could potentially be wrong start running through my head. Then it starts coming from under the hood. There was so much smoke, that people were honking at me. A quick Google Maps search shows there’s a park about a block from me. So I make it to the park so I can see whats wrong. I opened the hood and even more smoke fogs my glasses up. When it clears I see the problem: one of the coolant hoses gave some and splatted coolant over most of the engine, including the hot parts. That smoke I was seeing? Coolant on a hot engine. I could smell it and see where orange residue had been baked into the parts of then engine.
At that moment I decided I wasn’t going to go work that day, so I call both my bosses, tell them whats going on and they say don’t worry about it, see about your car. Cool. Now how am I going to get to a mechanic? I never got AAA because towing wise they are pricey, like most companies. Your first 7 miles are free, $10 bucks every mile after. I was worried about having a ton of smoke coalesce around me as I drive as well. That’s when I noticed that my coolant is pretty much empty as well. As some weird form of luck would have it, my mom just so happened ( and even now I still don’t know what the hell she was doing over there) to be about 2 miles from me. after I called her and told her what was going on ,she comes by and to sit with me while I figure out what to do because that’s the kind of things she does.
After about 20 minutes of sitting there I remembered that, because I was pretty close to work, there was a trusted mechanic with good reviews about 2 miles from my job. My mom tells me she will follow me over there just in case anything else went wrong. So I fill up the car with a little more coolant ( I always keep some in the back), and slowly start to drive over there. I was worried the car would start smoking again because the neighborhood I was in is pretty hilly, like steep. The car could get overworked going up the hills. But luckily it didn’t and the car started smoking again, but this time not as much, a block from the shop.
I get to the shop and the guy checks out my car. 30 minutes later he comes and tells me to come in the back so he can show me whats wrong. He showed me the hose that would need to be replaced and he showed me the main problem: the thermostat housing assembly. Here’s the problem. The brilliant engineers at GM decided it would be a good idea to have the housing assembly be mostly made out of plastic. That’s the main image on this article. Why they thought that a part that could potentially heat up over time and wear with age should be made out of plastic is beyond me but it doesn’t make sense. So my housing assembly cracked, leading to coolant leaking out every time the thermostat opens. Which is why there is baked on coolant all on the engine, and why I had noticed I had to keep putting coolant more frequently as of late.
I replaced the hose and that stopped the smoke and slowed the leaking, but I still have have yet to replace the housing assembly. The problem is finding one for a good price and I want this done asap. The one you see above, an OEM part is $85.55. But I dont want oem. Because on top of that $85, I have to pay another $120 total to get the work done. And I don’t want to pay for a part that could crack again down the line. So I’ve been searching for an aluminium one like this one at Rock Auto:
See? This is how it should have been made. But it wasn’t. Leading to my problem. Now my car does have 140 thousand + miles on it, and thank god this is pretty much the first major thing I have had to repair on it but still its annoying. Locally, none of the chain automotive part stores have them cheaper, and yes I am being a cheapskate. Both O’Reilly’s and Autozone have the part, but its nearly $140 bucks. So hopefully before the day is over I can find the part I need locally cheaper, or its driving slow to work like I have been, or taking the Mustang and waiting a week for the cheaper part to arrive from an online auto site.